Sociable Scientists. Designing learning environments by simple means

While studying social science we have to go through a lot of theory, and at the same time never loose the touch with the real world

Not only because we are planning to get a job in a real world,  but mainly because the society is our main subject.

That’s why lectures often turn into discussions of current issues. It is great, but leaves us no time for deepen our knowledge of theoretical concepts.

Case: Global Cafe

As a response to the limited space for discussion Global Cafe of Malmo University was launched.

It is an open discussion forum started by students and staff of the Department of Global Political Studies at my uni.

It takes place twice a month and themes are chosen from ones proposed through Facebook group.

It starts at 4PM, after lectures are over and before people go out.

Snacks are served during the gathering. Attendees pay a fee of 1.5 euros, which is enough to provide sandwiches and tea for the next event.

Prototyping and Infrastructuring of The Internet Identities Forum.

Next semester few of my classmates and me are launching a similar forum,

but with the main focus on the internet identities. It will also have a discussion facilitating workshop, and try out gamestorming instead of debates.

If anyone wants to prototype with us, but in their local area, will be great.

There’s more than that!

Hey K, I love the idea! But let’s not be naive here. We all know that a learning environment is not just about coffee, sandwiches and a Facebook page. In the end, most people will show up expecting somebody to be in the lead, and that somebody is going to have to be yourself, at least initially. To make it a success and keep them coming back for more there is going to be a lot of curation work to do: look for interesting content (articles etc.), prepare presentations, invite people that might have something to contribute etc.

That said, I think this peer-to-peer attitude towards learning is very healthy, and I look forward to your results. Let’s just say that there needs to be some top-down curation in our peer-to-peer!

Curation is the King, Sandwiches are just humble servants

You got it perfectly right, chaos is the main problem, and we all know that. We are all “Idea Rich”, but the main task is to give it a structure and meaning.

Yes, the forum has to have top-down curation, but the initiative itself, should not come only from the “top”.

We need to have a paralell workshop on discussion facilitation, it is clear.

But to launch it in a raw stage, so that it can be improved by the participants.

Even if our initiative comes out totally useless, the next one has more chance to be good. If it comes out nice, then we make it bigger, and ask for funds from the student union.

It is difficult to create a perfect open discussion live forum, but if we make enough prototypes it will be easier to improve.

Youth Innovation Kraft (project I observe&hope to learn from)

A point about curation and open forums: I came across the Soc Innov project in the rather miserable district of my city. Project can be translated from Swedish as Youth Innovation Kraft(1).

It consist of series of workshops on social innovation and socent, so that ideas nurtured by people in Rosengard(3) can find a sufficient structure to become projects and widen their social networks.

The main goal is to make the area comfortable and sustainable.

As it is based on workshops, I’ll see how it goes and learn somethng useful for my mini open forum.

DETAILS. Only if curious.

  1. Young Innovation Kraft Project a collaboration between Malmo University and RGRA-operation. (site in Swedish) Sidan har flyttats - Malmö Universitet

2.RGRA-operation, NGO. “Hip hop is an important foundation for us.Our aim to create a forum where more young people can be seen, heard and vent their thoughts in a constructive manner”

(site in Swedish)

3.Rosengard District.

Rosengard is a district in Malmo which is perceived as a slum. The bad reputation does not contribute to it’s development.

The district is build in 70s, as a “modernized district” which did not make it look pretty either.However, Rosengard, if given the opportunity, has all the potential to shake off the stigma, because it is fairly located and it’s population is young, street smart and active. On top of that the city itself has positive dynamics for change and improvement.Population of Rosengard in more than 80% of foreign background, Which is, when mixed together with the bad reputation, stimulating social phobias, if mixed with good reputation, adds value.